Take Back the Night

I am posting some photos from an event I helped to organize a few weeks ago. It was called Take Back Night. The event aims to create an inclusive and welcoming on-campus community for survivors of sexual assault. The student group that organized the event was called SASA (Students Against Sexual Assault).

For the event, we coordinated a series of awareness-oriented performances. We, SASA, did some of the performances and other on-campus signing and stepping groups did the others. We had a great duo of hosts. The event was co-sponsored by a number of different groups. And, President Jones also gave the welcoming address.

On Campus, Photos, Uncategorized , ,

Spread the Word to End the Word

This is one post I was unable to write this post once it first occurred because I didn’t have the pictures:

For Best Buddies, we annually partake in the national campaign called Spread the Word to End the Word. It aims to raise awareness about the hurtful effects of the R-word, the word “retard(ed),” and other hurtful language.

This year Best Buddies held an annual pledge campaign for Spread the Word. First, we encourage students, staff and faculty to sign a pledge not to use the R-word, and be mindful of their language. Before they do that, however, they all take a 2-minute quiz about language usage. It ensures that people who take the pledge are informed and critically thinking about what they are signing onto. After signing the physical pledge sheet, participants receive a brochure with more information about it, possible scenarios, and a free silicone wristband with the words “Spread the Word to End the Word” on it.

This year, our thematic color was HOT PINK! It catches your eye, and you can’t miss it. We also had t-shirts for select groups that co-sponsored the event. (Co-sponsoring entailed having student groups pledge in groups of at least 10 persons.)

At the end of the week, we had over 700 people take the pledge!!! We hung up all the pledge posters in Mather Hall. The photos in this post are of our Eboard, who did most of the work for the campaign. Shanice Hinckson ’15 was this year’s Spread the Word to End the Word Coordinator.

Best Buddies, Community Service, On Campus

Tom Ridge @ Trinity

Yesterday, was the annual Clement Lecture, one of the many endowed lectures at Trinity. The speaker was former Secretary of Homeland Security and former Governor of Pennsylvania Tom Ridge. His topic was national and global security.

Growing up, I remember watching Tom Ridge on the TV at press conferences and meetings with President Bush, etc. There is always surreal quality when you have the opportunity to meet or see someone famous.

Ridge’s talk was pretty informative. He argued for the importance of foreign aid in an age of increasing budget cuts, global interconnectedness, and national partisanship.

Even if I don’t agree with everything he said or did as a politician, I really appreciate that he came to campus. When those who are engaging in the world’s biggest, most vital intellectual discussions come to campus, it adds palpability to what you learn in class. His position forced me to challenge some of my assumptions and prior views regarding foreign aid and global security.

He also seemed like a really nice fellow. He’s very personable and polite.

Here’s the announcement (click here).

Class of 2012, On Campus

Where have I been????

Sorry for being AWOL for the month of March. As some posts indicate, I am approaching the crunch time for my thesis. The past month has been one mad rush. Since my last post, I know they sent out the Regular Decision results. Many more prospective students are reading our blogs, which is GREAT!

Last words: I’ll make sure to post some more for April.

Bantam Banter

Thesis Update Two

Thesis Update Two:

I am scrapping the VLog video series to cover my thesis. I figured I will just write about it. For those not quite naturals before the camera, like myself, it is a bit easier to write it out.

Just to recap: I am writing a Senior history thesis on the Connecticut colonization movement to Liberia before the Civil War. My advisers are Professor Gac (first reader) and Professor Markle (second reader). The thesis is a culmination of a year long project, and will end up being between 80 to 100 pages!

Progress on the thesis has been going well. Although I have done A LOT of research, it still seems like there is A LOT left to do. I have about 60 pages in draft right now. And, I only have a handful of research trips left to make.

This week I met with both my thesis advisers to update them on my progress and get their input on what I have written thus far. On Monday, Professor Gac and I went out to lunch at The Kitchen, a restaurant at Billings Forge. On Thursday, Professor Markel and I had breakfast in Mather.

Thus far, I have written about race relations in antebellum Connecticut, the Colonization vs. Anti-slavery debate, and the experience of blacks from Connecticut while they are in Liberia. I still have some more sections to write about, including the 1850 Fugitive Slave Law. AND then, a swarm of REWRITES! Rewriting is where I plan to make sure the thesis has a coherent thread, argument, and narrative structure. After rewrites, there will be a couple of rounds of editing. Then, poof! Thesis will be done.

But before that deadline, I still have a lot of work. Now, I posted two images at the top that relate to my thesis. I thought it would be interesting to juxtapose them. Both are daguerreotypes (an early form of photography) by a Augustus Washington, a Connecticut man who goes to Liberia. The daguerreotype on the left is of famous abolitionist John Brown, known for his raid against Harpers Ferry in 1859. The daguerreotype on the right is of Liberian Senator Edward James Roye. I juxtapose the images because of the presentation of hands, similarity in standing posture, and gazes directly into the camera. But I think the hand positioning is really unique.

On the left, John Brown raises his right hand to swear allegiance to the destruction of slavery. His left hand grasps an ambiguous flag, which is thought to be symbolic for the flag of the “Subterranean Pass Way,” a militant alternative to the Underground Railroad. Similarly, Edward James Roye raises his left hand above his head. We don’t know why he raises his left hand. We only know that a there is an 1857 watercolor of the Liberian Senate, which presents Roye raising his right hand in a similar motion as the daguerreotype. One reading of the Roye daguerreotype is that he, like Brown, is raising his hand to a nation, perhaps the young republic he is helping to shape as a member of the Liberian Senate. Roye would have a long career in Liberian politics, which climaxed in his election to the Presidency of Liberia in 1870. Or, maybe, Roye is raising his hand to another higher cause, like a divine presence. It looks as if his index finger is more extended, as if pointing to something above. Republican Liberia was tough place to live; it was marred by disease, violence with Native Liberians, and inadequate medical care. There is ample evidence that these harsh conditions contributed to a noticeable religiosity among Americo-Liberian settlers. I think the visual parallel between the two images is there, but the reasoning behind them can only be speculative. I love the similarities between the two images. There is a certain power to them: each man stands, looks directly at the camera, and raises a hand. Both men are only united by their common daguerreotypist. But they are also for their significant contributions to the history of both America and Liberia, which, as I show in my thesis, is really a transnational history.

Enough blog writing for now, I am going to get back to my thesis writing!

For those interested in the History major at Trinity, make sure to check out the History Department Blog (click here). There is even a cool post written by my friend Jake Prosnit ’12 about all the thesis writers (& it features your favorite Trinity admissions blogger-ME!). The blog is maintained by Professor Markle and Jake.

Also, some internet sources if you want to learn more about the photographs:



Academics, Class of 2012

Vagina Monologues: Introducer Extraordinaire

Last Thursday evening, my friend Carlos & I gave the introduction to Trinity’s annual production of the Vagina Monologues. It is a performance reading of different dialogues that explore female sexuality. Eve Ensler wrote it, in 1996. It is part of the V-Day movement, which seeks to fundraise for victims of, and raise awareness of, sexual assault. The over $650 in proceeds from our performance this year are being donated to the Interval House, a local shelter for battered women, and victims of sexual assault in Haiti. The performance was coordinated by WGRAC (the Women & Gender Resource Action Center). AND, this year’s performance was also co-directed by fellow SAA, Jeanika Brown-Springer ’12 (check out her blog).

One thing I love about Trinity is the kind of discussions that occur on campus. Unlike my high school, where something were best left unsaid, Trinity encourages discussions of critical, controversial, and often un-discussed issues, such as sexual assault. It is a really serious issue that is unarguably not discussed enough in by the media and society. It is great that programs like the Vagina Monologues can highlight these serious issues.

More Pictures!!! (click text)

The WGRAC blog (click text)

The WGRAC website (click text)

On Campus , ,

Corner Pug w/ Prof. Masur & Kayla

In the info sessions, it awkwardly comes up when talking about Hartford. There is a certain laughable quality to explaining it. How do you articulate such a quintessential part of Trinity? Here’s a shot at it:

One of the best things about being in Hartford is the food. It sounds cliché: Trinity’s location in Hartford affords many daily conveniences. People from all around the world bring diverse & tasty options for dining off campus. In my hometown, there are just over a dozen restaurants. In Hartford, there are hundreds. Eating off campus is one of the little details to college life that adds a pleasant diversity to your on-campus diet.

On Monday, Professor Masur took my friend Kayla & I out to dinner at the Corner Pug in West Hartford. I’ve passed by it tons of times, but have never went it. Up to this point, it was one of the things on my perpetual to-do list.

A Cajun Black Burger later, I can say its one of my new favorites. The pub-style restaurant features lots of chocolaty-oak wood furniture, plush leather seating, and a stamped tin ceiling. The food was just the right serving size, and very delicious.

Kayla & I plumbed professor’s mind on everything from jobs to politics to life. And we got his take on things like the visual studies class all three of us are in. I think, subliminally, he also wanted to spark some creatively rivalry for the theses that both Kayla and I are in the midst of writing.

If you want to check out the website for the Corner Pug, here it is:
the Corner Pug

If you want a good list of places to eat in Hartford, check this out: Hartford.com.
The only catch is that this doesn’t even include all of the good places in West Hartford, like the Corner Pug.

And, if you want to find out more about American Studies or History at Trinity just click here:
American Studies

Academics, In Hartford

Bantam Bazaar

A few weeks ago, I posted about a special project I was working on called the Bantam Bazaar, a tag sale to benefit charity. Last Tuesday, in addition to being Valentine’s Day, it was the 3rd annual Bantam Bazaar.

It was a great turnout! About $1200 was raised for charity from a single day tag sale. This year, the funds will go to benefit disaster relief in Vermont, from the bad storms that occurred in the second half of last year.

For sale was a great selection of clothes, furniture, knickknacks, and electronics. While I wasn’t able to stay for the entire day, I was able to help out by manning the table early on, and with clean up at the end of the day. Here’s a few pics from the sale:

Thanks to Giuliani for the Pics.


Habitat Build 2/4

Last semester, I wrote a lot of blog posts about Best Buddies. But for a long time that was not what many people on campus associated me with. This is my first year in charge of Best Buddies. For three semesters, from Sophomore till the end of Junior year, I was in charge of Trinity’s Habitat for Humanity chapter. For Habitat we seek to eliminate homelessness and poverty-housing through a series of campaigns. We raise money that goes towards funding houses for those in need. We also do educational and advocacy events on campus to raise awareness of homelessness and poverty-housing issues.

This past Saturday, I went on my first build of the year! (It was a bit tough last semester considering builds on Saturdays, the same day I worked in Admissions.)
The build was a lot of fun, and a little cold. The project was actually co-sponsored by Trinity Habitat. Last spring we donated over $15,000 to co-sponsor a house. There is even a video of the house dedication last April, and I make an appearance! Check it out, I appear at 1:27:

The house we were working on (and also co-sponsored) is part of a huge, sixteen house project by Habitat. What makes it unique is that all the houses are town-houses. Usually, Habitat does free-standing houses. On Saturday, we did some framing, painting, and roofing. We also used this tool that I had never seen before. It was a shaft with a trigger that shot a nail through the frame of a wall into the concrete floor. I have no clue what it is called, but it was really cool.

I hope I can get on one last Habitat build before the year is out!

Almost the same picture as the first, except Todd and I switched positions.


Two really busy weeks down!

Two really busy weeks down!

Classes started two weeks ago and it has been a full on rush of work. It’s great to see everyone back on campus, especially those students who were away last semester. I have been getting a lot of work done on my thesis. As my thesis adviser says, “It’s CRUNCH TIME!” Getting back into things does take time, but it is also really exciting. I am really looking forward to my courses this semester.

I wanted to highlight one of the courses, which I am really looking forward to. It is Visual Culture in America (AMST-276) with Professor Masur. We look at images as texts to situate them within their cultural context and use them to better understand that context. Professor Masur is always fun. He makes learning interesting, and is great to see around campus. He even wrote a book on visual culture, in which he told the story of a famous American photograph. Both the photo and book are called The Soiling of Old Glory.

Here’s the book, with the photo on the cover:

Academics, On Campus